The MaineToday Media newspapers now employ more experienced political reporters than the Bangor Daily News and Lewiston Sun Journal combined. Nevertheless, MaineToday’s reporting on the U.S. Senate race and other hot state political issues can charitably be described as lame.
The reason for that disconnect between staff size and product quality must lie in the papers’ editorial offices, where inexplicable decisions appear to have resulted in a squandering of resources.
Speak no ill: On May 17, the Kennebec Journal ran a front-page story by staff writer Ben McCanna on an Augusta man killed when a camp he was working on fell on him. In the piece, Robert Marandes Rodriques Jr. was described as a “dedicated father of five and a hard worker,” based on information from a woman the article called his widow.
Off the Beem: The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting has annoyed a liberal journalist by producing what he calls “So What?” stories.
The slide continues: The Audit Bureau of Circulations released its latest numbers on Maine newspapers on May 8. The circulation figures for the six months ending March 31, 2012, offer a hint of good news for the Maine Sunday Telegram, but little comfort to any other paper.
The MaineToday Media-owned Telegram saw its weekly circulation decline by less than one percent, from 76,715 in 2011 to 76,015 this year. That’s the smallest decrease for that paper in at least five years.
The buck stops here: In December 2010, MaineToday Media made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. A sales representative phoned me to say that because I had the MaineToday-owned Morning Sentinel home delivered, I could also receive the Maine Sunday Telegram for a mere one dollar a year. Since the Telegram costs two dollars a week on newsstands in my part of the state, I promptly signed up.
Auction concoction: This much is known for certain. Somebody bought the ten Nassau Broadcasting radio stations in Maine at a court-ordered bankruptcy auction on May 2. Exactly who and exactly what they purchased is unclear.
On April 30, Townsquare Media of Greenwich, Conn., became a major factor in Maine radio. Townsquare, which specializes in small and medium markets, bought twelve stations in Bangor, Augusta and Presque Isle from Cumulus Media.
The total deal actually involved Townsquare buying fifty-five stations in eleven markets across the country. In return, Cumulus got ten stations in Illinois and $116 million.
Cloudy crystal ball: On May 7 at 10 a.m., the Maine Press Association, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and Vox Global (a Washington-based public relations firm with an office in Portland) will sponsor a forum called “The Future of Maine’s Newspapers” at the Holiday Inn By The Bay in Portland.
On the rocks: When a Maine company sells off some of its assets to a major national firm for a whopping $605 million, it seems as if that should be big news. But you’d never guess that from the coverage in Maine daily newspapers.
W-BACH-up plan: In the April 21 Bangor Daily News, business reporter Matt Wickenheiser examines the implications in Maine of the scheduled May 8 court-ordered auction of the bankrupt Nassau Broadcasting chain.